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Pacers hire sports writer, exec Bill Benner as senior VP

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Longtime Indianapolis sports journalist and executive Bill Benner has joined Pacers Sports & Entertainment as senior vice president of corporate, community and public relations, the company announced Wednesday afternoon.

Benner will step down as the Horizon League’s senior associate commissioner for operations and communications, where he has been since 2010.

bill benner mugBill Benner

He will replace Greg Schenkel, who is retiring. The appointment is effective Nov. 18.

“I’m elated to have this opportunity to serve an organization that is so much a part of the Indianapolis identity and culture,” Benner said in a prepared statement. “This is the culmination of my professional career, and I look forward to representing PS&E’s many positive contributions in the community and beyond.”

Benner had a 33-year career as a sportswriter and columnist for the Indianapolis Star, and was the Pacers beat writer from 1974 to 1979.

After leaving the Star in 2001, Benner served stints as vice president of communications for the Indiana Sports Corp. and as director of communications for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association.

The lifelong Hoosier and a graduate of Indiana University has written a weekly sports column for IBJ for the past 12 years.

"Bill's column has been a fixture in the pages of IBJ since 2001," IBJ Editor Greg Andrews said. "Readers will miss turning to his lively take on the world of sports each week. We appreciate the outstanding work he did for us and wish him well on his exciting job opportunity with the Pacers."

Benner's farewell column will appear in the issue of IBJ hitting newsstands Saturday.

He will join his younger brother in the new position. David Benner, also a former Star sportswriter, is the Pacers’ director of media relations.

“We are most fortunate to have Bill join our team,” Jim Morris, president of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, said in a prepared statement. “His experience and knowledge will further our success.”

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    Bill Benner, making the best of what's around. The dreaming tree lives!

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